Friday, October 2, 2015

Springbrook National Park Family Adventure

During the school holidays, we generally have a family adventure visiting a National Park. With children who love to spend the school holidays on technology it is a great way to get them out of the house and into nature with some fresh air.

For these school holidays we went to Springbrook National Park. We have been there before and love it! The park is situated on the Gold Coast Hinterland and the view is worth the drive down there from Brisbane.

The track that we like to take as a family is around 4km long. It is a lovely walk with lush forest paths that take you to a wonderful waterfall view halfway through the track. You basically follow the path down to the bottom of the waterfall and then back up to the top of it.

We even dragged poor Eli along who recently broke his collarbone and he was able to walk the path easily and keep up even though he is not himself right now!

On this trip to Springbrook National Park a group of us decided to run the track. I have several children who like to run so I took off with the three of them and tried my best to keep up!

Nathan who is a great runner and way faster than me was hilarious. He would run on ahead and then when we caught up to where he was waiting for us we would hear a quiet, 'Hello Mum' and then we would look around to try to find where he was.

It kind of turned into a game of 'Where is Nathan?'...The only problem I had with this game was that I would have a mini heart attack every time I saw where he was hiding because he often climbed up really high or was perched out on a tree branch that to my Mum mind was dangerous!

The longer we ran on the less I wanted to find out where he was hiding!
Gah! Teenagers! Below are some examples of places I found him...

Nathan even hiked all the way under the waterfall for me and took a picture. I appreciate his fun and adventure and thankfully the younger children were not too keen on being as adventurous as he was!

Getting out of the house and taking a hike always ends up a great family adventure for us. We are always on the lookout for new places to explore and love that we have such beautiful National Parks here in Australia to enjoy. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Things To Do In Bali | Visit a Temple

On our 'must do' list when visiting Bali as a family, was to visit a temple. With more than 20,000 temples scattered around Bali there are plenty of opportunities to visit one and enjoy the wonderful uniquely decorated structures on display.

Religion is a big part of the daily lives of the Balinese people and their temples are seen as holy places to them. Modest dress is expected for men and women when visiting a temple and many require visitors to cover themselves with a sarong. This is provided at the entrance for a small donation to the temple or the village and is seen as a way to give back to the local people.

We loved the detail and carvings in the stone and buildings around the temple sites. So many different characters to study, enjoy and appreciate. There seriously are statues all over the Island in Bali and some of them you see when driving around are huge!

It was actually fun as families to put on a sarong and to walk around and appreciate the beauty and calm of a temple after staying in busy, crazy Kuta. It was also great for our children to learn and see how other countries and people practise their religion.

Above is a picture of all the children we travelled with all over Bali on adventures. Two families and thirteen children. It was awesome fun! We totally look like tourists though :)

*Here are the 5 most popular temples to visit in Bali - HERE*

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chasing down the Grandma's at Parkrun

When I go to parkrun on a Saturday morning...I have one goal: to catch two awesome older ladies (nicknamed 'The Grandma's' in our house) who run it every Saturday morning.

Both of them, are older than me and way faster than me. They run a slow steady pace for the whole 5km of the parkrun course and beat me at the end...every...single...time!

When I return home from parkrun my children who didn't run always ask me if I managed to beat 'The Grandmas'. Sadly, I have to tell them that once again...they passed me in the last 1km.

*Then we all have a good laugh as I tell them how close I came to catching up to them!*

I always start off in front of them and through the whole 5km run I keep an eye on how far behind me they are. I manage to do really well for the first 4km and then in the last 1km...they steam past me and smash me at the end.

I have spend many a Saturday morning running along, out of breath, looking at the back of those two ladies as I try to catch up to them. They are both amazing and one day I will have the courage to go say hello and tell them my funny goal of trying to beat them every Saturday morning.

Well, after spending way too many Saturday mornings at parkrun feeling discouraged, I decided that enough was enough. The Grandma's were going down! I was determined to beat these two wonderful ladies and set out a plan to work on my speed.

I started changing up my running during the week and added in a few more speed sessions to see if it would make a difference. I worked on this for a couple of weeks and then decided that the time was right. I was going to beat those two Grandma's and it was going to feel good!

*I know. I am a sad lady trying to compete against two older ladies but I need goals to keep myself going and to push whole family has found this experience hilarious!*

The day came and I was feeling good. I told all of my kids that today was the day. I was going to do whatever I needed to do to keep 'The Grandma's' behind me and I was going to come home a winner!

I started out well and tried to keep looking ahead and to focus on my own run. I ran as well as I could for the first 4km and knew that I needed to not stop because if I took any break - they would pass me.

In the last 1km, I stole a look behind me and there they were! The Grandma's were about 20 meters behind me and looking strong. I went into panic mode. I ran as fast as I have ever run and did not stop. About 500 meters towards the end I though I was going to throw up!

I think I actually started laughing at this stage. I couldn't believe I was pushing myself so hard to beat two sweet little older ladies! Ha ha!

Well, I did it! I managed to stay in front of them until the end and was even able to stand there for several seconds and watch them as they came in with a huge smile on my face.

It felt good to achieve another one of my crazy, simple, running goals and to know that if I work hard I can improve my speed. Now that I have caught up to 'The Grandma's' I need another regular runner to chase down!

If you go to parkrun at Southbank, watch could be you!

*Having a celebration picture after the run. It was necessary!*

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Use breathing to reduce depression

My mind is a great story teller! It tells me many lies. It does this to protect me. But, in doing so it adds to my depression. To help overcome this I use breathing to help reduce my depression.

When you are feeling low and depressed, focusing on your breathing can be the LAST thing you want to do. Your breath can be a reminder that you are here, alive, living the nightmare of your life that you want to escape from.

However, I have found breathing actually helped reduce my depression. In fact, focusing on my breath actually helped me to feel more alive and to appreciate just how good my life really is!

When I am struggling the most with feeling depressed it is because my mind is telling me stories about my life that are not true. My mind is very protective and will remind me constantly of past experiences that therefore discourage me from moving forward in my life.

My mind likes to warn me of future danger even before that danger has occurred. It uses my past life experiences as a reminder that I will be hurt and that I have been hurt. In turn I feel like a failure as a person even before I have even attempted to give anything in life a try!

By taking the time to focus on my breathing....simply by closing my eyes and listening to the in/out of my regular helped to bring my mind into the NOW of my life. To that very day and that very moment in time.

I would imagine my breath helping me to spread out roots into the ground where I stood, grounding me to the NOW. As I listened to my breath I would remind myself that right now my life is very different to the past, that right NOW I don't need to worry about many of the stories my mind is telling me and that right NOW I have a family in my home who love and support me and nobody else matters in my life.

By connecting with the NOW it helped me to see my life differently than what my mind was telling me. I could ground myself, calm myself down and look at the reality of my life.

I could see how I was blessed, I could see I was loved and I could see that I am a different person from the past and my life is a very different life than I have previously lived.

Breathing helped me to see myself as I really am, not as my depressed mind wanted me to see myself. My depressed mind wanted me to always be depressed, to always look for the negative and to always protect myself from actually living!

The real grounded, calm me, wants to live life and to feel alive. The real me wants to be experience life and to NOT live in the shadows.

So now I go out, I put myself out there and I breathe my way through it. It has made a huge difference to how I function in my every day life. At first, it almost seemed too simple to try. I am so glad I gave it a go and it has played a key role in helping me move forward and in reducing depression.

*As you know this is what worked for me and it might not work for you. I am not a professional, I just like to share tips on how I have been able to live with depression. If you are suffering from depression, please seek professional help*

Friday, September 25, 2015

the 'two different shoes' stage

Every day in my home, I am reminded that my children, arrived here on Earth, in our family, with their own distinct, unique personality. I love that each of them are quirky in their own way and I love to see how they display that in their lives.

As a young mother, I didn't like to see them trying to live their lives differently to how I thought they should...but now as a more experienced, chilled out mother...I love it!

I give them more freedom to express themselves and I know that it is usually a 'stage' they are going through and they generally move on to something else.

One way that my youngest daughter shows this is with her 'two different shoes' stage that she is going through. I have shared previously a little about how she has taught me to 'let go' on the expectations of how I think my children should dress in so many ways.

You can read more about it HERE.

Basically, the two different shoes stage is with her always wearing two different shoes every where she goes. At first, it was I just accept it and let her go with it. Most people who know us, know that she loves to wear two different shoes and think it is funny as well!

Some examples below:

For church every Sunday Liberty would wear two different shoes. I started taking pictures of her outfits every Sunday morning because some of the combinations are hilarious! I have a whole collection of them to show her when she is older.

The good thing is that after about 6 months of wearing two different shoes every where she goes and of me not making a fuss about it...she has moved on and is now wearing the same matching shoes.

Don't tell her this is a little boring actually now that she has moved on and I am so glad we have a visual diary of her fun, quirky shoe stage. Who knows what she will be into next!